2014 NSW Government Heritage Volunteer of the Year Award.
Today I had the great honour of presenting Aubrey Brooks with a 2014 NSW Government Heritage Volunteer of the Year Award.
Aubrey’s employment at BHP Newcastle began in 1961, when he started off working as a rivet cook at the wagon shop following a family tradition that would eventually span some 125 years and three generations.
Aubrey worked at BHP Newcastle for over 38 years, and his passion for the organisation’s position in Newcastle’s history has remained many years on.
However, as remarkable as Aubrey’s service to BHP was during his time of employment at the Newcastle plant, it has perhaps been his activities since the plant’s closure, where he has made his greatest contribution.
Since then, Aubrey has dedicated his time and efforts to ensure that the people of the Hunter and further afield are made aware of the personal stories of those men and women who worked at BHP Newcastle, conducting in excess of 70 Remember BHP Guest Speaking Presentations and Muster Point tours, to community groups both locally and from afar.
Aubrey is passionate about making the general public aware of the personal side of the men and women who gave service to BHP and created a unique bond of mateship whilst working at the plant.
In many instances, this bond has continued for many years after BHP Newcastle’s closure, as evidenced by the many who attend the annual “Men and Women of Steel” reunions he organises.
These reunions have helped keep alive the spirit of camaraderie that existed amongst employees, some of whom have struggled to find a new direction since the plants’ closure.
In his role as Vice President of the Newcastle Industrial Heritage Association, Aubrey has assisted raise in excess of $60,000 for a BHP Newcastle Muster Point Memorial.
The passion with which Aubrey dedicates himself to educating the community about BHP Newcastle and the people who worked there, and of a city that has moved away from its industrial past is I believe, truly worthy of recognition and I congratulate him on receiving this prestigious honour.
Tim Owen Member for Newcastle.